Santa Clara (12-16, 5-10) was able to avenge its loss earlier in the year in Stockton by beating Pacific (14-12, 5-10) 70-50 on Thursday night. The loss ties the two teams in the WCC league standings with three games left for each team.
Santa Clara was led by Brandon Clark, who dropped 17 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Freshman Jared Brownridge added 16 points, shooting 4-10 from three. The Broncos received a huge boost from their bench, which had 25 points, compared to the mere 24 points scored by Pacific starters.
Pacific had one scorer in double figures, Tony Gill, who had 10 points for the Tigers. The Tigers offense was sluggish all game, shooting 32% from the field and going just 1-9 from 3-point range.
Keys To The Game Checklist
( X) Take Advantage of Size
Santa Clara has been brutal down low most of the year, but tonight they seemed to out hustle the Tigers. Santa Clara out rebounded Pacific 38-33, and held Pacific to just 7 offensive rebounds and 4 second chance points. Pacific needed to take advantage of their size, and not doing so put a lot of pressure on their guards to stop the Santa Clara perimeter game.
(Check) Post Production
This looked more like the Santa Clara team that beat Saint Mary’s and took Gonzaga to the buzzer. Finally, their frontcourt played with energy, hustled, and contributed to the easy win. Nate Kratch was a spark-plug off the bench, scoring 9 points and grabbing 7 boards. McArthur, Atanga, and Brown combined for 19 points and 15 boards, and if they can continue that production, the Broncos become a much more balanced and dangerous team.
This game ties Santa Clara and Pacific in the standings. This loss really hurts Pacific’s chances on making it to 6th place in the conference and getting that first round bye. They are now 2 games down from Portland and Pepperdine in the loss column, as well as behind 6-10 San Diego. They no longer control their own destiny, and would need a lot of help in order to maybe ascend, as well as win out.
This win for Santa Clara has much more of a positive mental effect. However, it puts Santa Clara in a position of maybe stealing that 6th spot in the league. This Saturday they host Saint Mary’s, whom they beat earlier this year in Moraga. They finish the year with a trip to LMU and Pepperdine, and if they could win out, they would have a chance to sneak up on some other teams.